North Korea has recently toned down anti-South Korea rhetoric via propaganda radio broadcasts and leaflets after it suggested halting cross-border slander to improve bilateral ties, Seoul's defense ministry said Monday.
Pyongyang has recently reduced the number of its radio programs broadcast via loudspeakers along the inter-Korean border and temporarily stopped flying propaganda leaflets near its western border since the communist state offered a series of peace gestures toward Seoul last month.
"North Korea's threats and propaganda radio broadcasts against South Korea have continually decreased of late," ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing. "However, other activities including military drills have not stopped."
Since Pyongyang called on Seoul to halt all acts provoking and slandering the other side in mid-January, no propaganda balloon has been detected near the western front, according to military officials.
While the North's latest moves are seen as part of its peace gesture, North Korea has continually been carrying out its winter drills since December, though some were reduced during the Lunar New Year holiday last week, they said.
Hopes of improved inter-Korean ties have risen recently as the two Koreas are seeking to hold reunions in mid-February for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
Earlier on Monday, the North proposed working-level talks at the truce village on Wednesday to discuss holding the reunions. Seoul earlier proposed to hold the reunions at Mount Kumgang, a scenic resort on North Korea's east coast, on Feb. 17-22.
The prospect of family reunion still remains vague as Pyongyang has repeatedly urged South Korea to cancel its planned joint drills with the United States, saying family reunions can take place only when reconciliatory atmosphere is created by stopping hostile military activities.
Seoul and Washington have vowed to go ahead with their joint exercises that run from late February through April, calling them defensive in nature. (Yonhap News)